God is a Laughing Bedouin
“By turns reverent and irreverent, God is a Laughing Bedouin puts a human face on the Biblical story and confronts the stages of a woman’s life with wit and fearlessness. Bryant’s collection reminds me of Colm Toibin’s celebrated The Testament of Mary in its candour and compassion. Playful yet immensely moving, these poems show us what it means to be mortal.”
“It’s rare to encounter poems that break free of conventions. Bryant recognizes this is where poetry’s power is as she turns the questions of aging, spiritual life, intimacy and death inside out. The result is exhilarating.”
“Cullene Bryant’s God Is a Laughing Bedouin is at turns funny, heartbreaking, and sublime. We are in an age in which the territory of the spiritual is disputed, sometimes productively and sometimes destructively, but Bryant’s voice cuts through the noise with a reminder that the highest thoughts are rooted in direct experience. Her poems are wrought from the quotidian suffused with the elevated, and the sublime brought into deep, familiar focus. With these poems, Bryant will shepherd you through to the self you see in others—the self you’ll recognize in these flashes of the eternal.”
“Whether through unflinching and compassionate poems about her work as a hospital chaplain assisting patients during the final days of their lives, or through vivid and often wryly humorous poems about marriage, childbirth, divorce, widowhood, and aging, Cullene Bryant co-mingles the personal and the Biblical to reveal the arc of a rich and varied life. From delight to despair to celebration, these poems explore the presence (or absence) of the Holy with open eyes and an open spirit.”
—Fiona Tinwei Lam
Cullene Bryant’s poetry is a gas. Bryant is candid, sublime, compassionate and hilariously funny. These poems cover sex, marriage, divorce, illness, dying, mourning and so on but they always include Bryant’s faith. But what faith. Her rock solid beliefs are always most challenged by her own questions. As much as Bryant embraces her belief’s she challenges them. This makes for some very surprising poetry.
Strong and compassionate poetry like this is a reason for celebration.
We still live in a misogynist society and we do need to hear the voices of strong women, and we need to listen to them and attentively. These voices are necessary and reading Bryant’s God Is a Laughing Bedouin will help show you why.
When poets as smart, experienced and heartstrong as Cullene Bryant offer themselves up – we listen.
—Michael Dennis, Today’s Book of Poetry (read the full review and an excerpt)
In the Dry Woods
Bryant’s sensitive gentle writing is image filled but her stories expect more from us than enjoyment alone. We are to take responsibility for the sorrow we inflict, to recognize justice denied when we see it; and we are to challenge those who target and pull down the vulnerable.
—Muriel Duncan in the Observer
Pithy, punchy and pensive, these stories took courage to write. Often in seeking out resolutions and understanding in our own lives, we come up against a mirror that only shows us who we are becoming; not who we are, as if life is a process and can never be an end product. Bryant nudges us closer to that mirror.
—Cherie Thiessen, January Magazine (read full review)
Llamas in the Snow
Each short story outlines a hauntingly truthful story. While our encounter with the character is brief, our entering into their pain is profound. As I read this book, I felt compelled to come back and read more. The short stories invited me into the depth of the character’s life.
—The Journal of Pastoral Care: Peggy L.T. Garrison
Cullene Bryant has transformed her experiences as a minister, hospital chaplain and single parent into evocative, gentle stories about the verities of human existence. Whether Bryant’s stories are taking place in a New Orleans Strip Club, in a psychiatrist’s office or on a chicken farm, her images are vivid and humane.
—Volume One Bookstore, Duncan B.C.
Bryant’s characters are searchers, carrying for the most part, modest hopes. Many are women, brave and vulnerable, still open to life. They make us face their moral and ethical questions and see how hard it is to be sure. A United Church minister, for many years a hospital chaplain, Bryant gives her religious professionals no false pedestals. They are as human, as helpless, as the rest of us and at their best when they accept blessings from those they intended to comfort.
—The United Church Observer: Muriel Duncan